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Best "hip" DC Restaraunts?

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So I have a friend coming into town - the type that likes good food, but also likes the "it" places, the ones with a scene. We are both in our mid-twenties, so places with good drinks, fun atmosphere and good food (and not terribly terribly expensive $25 an entree is fine). Zatinya is the first place that comes to mind, but I was wondering what you all think?

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  1. Proof, Rasika, Zatinya come to mind.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jaydreb

      I think Zatinya, Rosa Mexicano, Oya or Oyamel would be good choices. While Rasika is good, I don't always think of it as "hip." Proof is classy but that place can get expensive.

      If your friend is really into a scene feeling, Oya might be the best option. They have some reasonable prices depending on the time you go.

      1. re: Jacey

        Oya also usually has a $30 pre-fixe menu which is quite good...I believe its 3-courses.

        1. re: Jacey

          I think the food at Rosa Mexicana except for the guac isn't very good, Oyamel is much better, if you want that. Neither I think are especially trendy, Oya has a good bar scene, but the restaurant never tends to be that busy when I am there and that has been like Friday nights. But it is a good deal. And the bar certainly is popular, especially because it is club reminiscent and DC just doesn't have a good club scene.

      2. Just in terms of the Penn Quarter area:

        Zaytinya, Oya, Rosa Mexicano (assuming they haven't been to another outpost), or Proof (if they like wine) would be a few off the top of my head. I've been to all of those places with both groups of girl friends and with just one other person, and all were v. lively and fun.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gyozagirl

          It seems that the scene stealer of late has been Good Stuff Eatery. That would be if you like hamburgers.

        2. Second Rasika and Zaytinya and Proof. I like the mixed drinks at Rasika a lot.

          Add Hook.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ktmoomau

            How about Zola.
            Good simple American food and lots of fun cocktails.
            scene to be sure

            1. re: daves_32

              I do like Zola, the food is great and it has a fun atmosphere - but when I have been there it's been a little quiet. have you had the same experience?

              1. re: arose

                it can get pretty bustling on weekends, plus it's in chinatown — never really quiet. Matchbox is quite hip, very sceney and very loud, since it seems you are trying to avoid the quieter restaurants.

                1. re: littlew1ng

                  well, zola is quiet but it is hip. It seems that there are a lot of complaints on this board about restaurants being too loud. Well, one of my favorite places in the area is Brasserie Beck. That is a scene if you like good beers served right. It does get a bit loud. The entrees will just slide below the price level.

                  1. re: littlew1ng

                    matchbox is definitely crowded, but i wouldnt ever call it "hip"

            2. These are all good suggestions. I would say the top of my list would be: Proof, Central, Hook, Oya, Brasserie Beck and Cafe Atlantico. All places have good food, good drinks (be it mojitos, wine, or beer depending on the place), and a fun, hip atmosphere.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Elyssa

                I'll throw out Cafe St. Ex and Coppi's. Both certainly in a more "hip" area than...ugh...the tourist-infested, bridge-'n'-tunnel Penn Quarter.

                If the Penn Quarter, then Proof for sure. Definitely a cool scene, though the bar area can get really, really crowded.

                1. re: GyroBall

                  Good call on U St. restaurants. I would also add in Marvin's.

                    1. re: dominationinc

                      I agree with Hook- because of the Georgetown factor. Central is a very happening place also with great food.

              2. I have been to Obelisk only once a few years ago, but it still ranks as the best restaurant to me in Washington. It's small, best food and you'd be in Georgetown to hop a bar or two. I've done the K Street restaurants, excellent, but more for lawyers after work. Have a great night and let us know where you went.

                4 Replies
                1. re: irishgirl1007

                  Obelisk is on P St. in Dupont Circle, not Georgetown. Definitely not an "it" place. Hook is losing its chef (if he hasn't already left.)

                  Highest hipness factor would probably be Central, Proof, and Cork Wine Bar, although the prices may creep out of your range.

                  1. re: crackers

                    Cork is certainly hip right now. That wouldn't be out of the price range. Perhaps eating at Proof would be in the price range but the final tab is often scary because of the higher end wines by the glass.

                    1. re: crackers

                      Cork is a good suggestion - I still haven't been - but I hear it's crazy crowded on weekends. have you found that to be the case?

                      1. re: arose

                        it can become quite crowded. if you go early enough (i think before 6), you can book a table.